I have been here for a whole month and as you can tell from my previous post, I am obsessed with Jane Austen. She is not Irish. She is not one of the living. And yet, I cannot help trying anything within my power to spend my days here connected with her works. University life has started and I am very busy, being overwhelmed by the extraordinary size of the UCD Campus and very big number of students. I can count myself very lucky of arriving a little earlier than the beginning of the semester. This way I could explore the gigantic grounds of the college with all the necessary leisure time I needed. In these days there are students everywhere. It seems ages ago, but I recall my first week when I first got lost on these (for me then) confusing premises. I just followed some sports students, or sporty students if you like, thinking they would lead me to the right place. I was wrong. They led me to the sports part, as I should have predicted. There they went into a big building called The Institute of Sport & Health, presumably in order to change. Since I had neither clothes to change nor any need for it (since I hadn’t done any exercise, you see), I just walked on. In the wrong direction. It turned out that I was now in the part of the campus called Richview. I saw a building called The Richview Library, went in and a nice lady librarian told me the directions and kindly printed me a map. She laughed and said I would have to walk another 20 minutes (that’s right, this university is big!) to get to my intended destination. I smiled and shrugged, thanked her sincerely for rescuing me and enjoyed the nice weather during my walk there. The other day, I overheard a conversation between two other exchange students. One of them was complaining about the small size of the campus. I almost went over there. However, I didn’t and felt more like a country girl than I have ever before.
Anyway, you might wonder how all this is connected to Jane Austen (
or you’re feeling relief because you don’t want to hear anything else about her after my last post) – I will tell you: All her heroines “are fond of walking” and love wandering about!
Nooo… I just wanted to give you a short account of my start here. The getting-lost-part was not all of it, to be sure. However, as soon as I knew my ways, I got along with everything just fine. The campus is quite big, it’s true, but since I’ve possessed a bike it’s become much easier. You’ll rejoice to hear that I have a bike! It’s pink & a great addition to my happiness.
But focus: Jane Austen. The third week at university is moving towards its end and I am happy to say that I love it! I was able to get into two Jane Austen courses and I can attend one lecture called ‘Romanticism’. This is wonderful! The courses are called ‘Jane Austen and her Peers’ and ‘Regency Writing’. I am eager to find out more about them every week. Plus, I have to read a lot. I mean really a lot. Last week I should have finished two books and read some articles/opinions about that time. This week one more book was added to that list, so that is why I’m reading three different books at the moment. But I absolutely love it! Among them are Evelina by Fanny Burney and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe. I wanted to read Evelina for a long time already, since I knew that Jane Austen must have read it, for it was published in her time. I even have it packed in one of my boxes back home in Germany. But I purchased another edition at the Campus bookstore and went right to reading it. Only to find out that I needed to finish the one by Ann Radcliffe before this one. So by the time I was halfway through Evelina, I started The Italian. Here I was introduced to a total new genre, the Gothic Novel. I was amazed. I had only heard of it before – again guess, where? That’s right, in one of Jane Austen’s novels! In Northanger Abbey she makes fun of this genre by letting her heroine fancying herself in mysterious situations throughout the whole story. In the book the naive Catherine Morland is reading The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and constantly imagines herself in the supernatural or terror. However, she soon meets the satirical Mr Tilney who aims to put an end to her incredible imagination before marrying her. This novel is said to be a parody of Gothic novels in general. Although I am sure even Jane Austen herself liked to be taken into some mystery while reading. I was struck by the suspense of the book and couldn’t so easily put it away again. As you might have guessed: I have long desired to read Udolpho and now even more.
I am still not done reading, so I better get back to it now. But if you’re interested – I might post more about those novels soon. Or not. I should maybe focus on university life, as I intended to start this blog for that main reason. Who knows.